A parliamentary system is a system of government in which the ministers of the executive branch are drawn from the legislature and are accountable to that body, such that the executive and legislative branches are intertwined. In such a system, the head of government is both de facto chief executive and chief legislator. Parliamentary systems are characterized by "not having" clear-cut separation of powers between the executive and legislative branches, leading to a different set of checks and balances compared to those found in presidential systems. Parliamentary systems usually have a clear differentiation between the head of government and the head of state, with the head of government being the prime minister or premier, and the head of state often being a figurehead, usually either a president (elected either popularly or by the parliament) or a hereditary monarch (or representative thereof such as a Governor-General), often seen in a constitutional monarchy. •
Parliamentarianism may also be for governance in local governments. An example is the city of Oslo, which has an executive council (Byråd) as a part of the parliamentary system.. Students of democracy such as Arend Lijphart divide parliamentary democracies into two different systems, the Westminster and Consensus systems (See Lijphart 1999 for this section). The Palace of Westminster in London, United Kingdom. The Westminster system originates from the British Houses of Parliament. •
The Westminster system is usually found in Commonwealth of Nations countries, although it is not universal within nor exclusive to Commonwealth countries. These parliaments tend to have a more adversarial style of debate and the plenary session of parliament is more important than committees. Some parliaments in this model are elected using a plurality voting system (first past the post), such as the United Kingdom, Canada, and India, while others use proportional representation, such as Ireland and New Zealand. The Australian House of Representatives is elected using instant-runoff voting while the Senate is elected using proportional representation through single transferable vote. Even when proportional representation systems are used, the voting systems tend to allow the voter to vote for a named candidate rather than a party list. This model does allow for a greater separation of powers than the Western European model, since the governing party will often not have a majority in the upper house. However, parliamentary systems still feature a lesser separation of powers than is found in democratic presidential systems. •
Western European parliamentary model (e.g., Spain, Germany) tend to have a more consensual debating system, and usually have semi-cyclical debating chambers. Consensus systems are identified by proportional representation, where there is more of a tendency to use party list systems than the Westminster Model legislatures. The committees of these Parliaments tend to be more important than the plenary chamber. This model is sometimes called the West German Model since its earliest exemplar in its final form was in the Bundestag of West Germany (which became the Bundestag of Germany upon the absorption of the GDR by the FRG). Unlike in Germany however, some West European countries' parliaments (e.g., the Netherlands, Sweden, Switzerland) implement the principle of dualism as a form of separation of powers. In countries using this system, Members of Parliament have to resign their place in Parliament upon being appointed (or elected) minister. However, ministers in those countries usually actively participate in parliamentary debates - the main difference being their inability to vote. Switzerland is considered one the purest examples of a consensus system. There also exists a Hybrid Model, the semi-presidential system, drawing on both presidential systems and...
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